Gospel Work and Other Assembly Activities – March-April 1982

“If thou hadst known, even thou … the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes”, Luke 19. 42.

One of the most tragic and touching incidents in the life of the Lord Jesus must surely be when He came to Jerusalem, beheld it, and then the tears ran down His face What kind of sorrow did these tears express? He wept at the grave of Lazarus! He wept in the garden of Gethsemane - “with strong crying and tears”! Study the circumstances in each case and the dimension of His sorrow becomes more apparent. We can be sure that the tears shed outside Jerusalem were occasioned by the senseless blindness of those whom He loved and had come to seek and to save, 19. 10. There was ignorance. They could have known - but “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not”, John 1. 10, 11. In their time He was manifest. Thus they were insensitive to the values He came to give They were things which belonged to their peace, their salvation and well-being. Therefore they were to know the impoverishment of the divine judgment, sad sequel, not because they had no opportunity but because they failed to respond to the light. No wonder the tears ran down His face. They knew not the day of their visitation - He had no answer to their rejection. Neither has the evangelist today. In this report there are varied situations of need, and there are opportunities open to reach the youth of our land with the gospel. Sin spoils today at a much earlier age. Moral decay sets in with its hardening process But the spiritual potentials are tremendous, and before many refusals bring increasing blindness, the possibilities of whole lives saved for God are there Pray that recognition and reception shall come. With the burden of needy souls on them, many evangelists have wept with the Saviour at the meaningless rejection of the gospel by many whom they seek to win. Let us pray that those who sow in tears shall reap with great joyfulness.

Northern Ireland

Good news of blessing from various parts of the North. Thirteen people were saved as Jim Hutchinson and Tom McKelvey worked in ANNALONG, a village in Co. Down - a time of blessing. In the portable hall at BALLYWALTER. Ronnie Johnstone and Bobbie Eadie preached, and there were a number who professed salvation. At least three have been saved while Tom McNeil and H. Hunter worked in a portable hall at KEADY, Co. Down. There was at least one conversion at Windsor Hall, Belfast, where Jim Allen had meetings. Three professed to trust Christ when Albert Aiken preached in a portable hall at KILLYFADDY, Co. Tyrone. Outside Belfast at GLENGORMLEY, Joe Moore. Ivan Gordon and Andrew Kenny held well attended meetings in a portable hall. A lot of teenagers and boys and girls attended - complete outsiders. The brethren are looking to the Lord for a real breakthrough. Jim Brown and John Lennox held a series of meetings at DRUMLOUGH. At least one professed faith in Christ. Robert McPheat held a series of meetings in Bloomfield Hall, BELFAST The Christmas Conference at the Kings Hall. BELFAST, was again very well attended. The afternoon was devoted to a Bible Reading, and then the evening session to the Ministry of the Word.


Just a few items of news come from various parts of Scotland. Moving out of their usual sphere of service in Perthshire. John Campbell and Jack Hay erected their portable hall in BISHOPSTON, Renfrewshire, their aims being to help the small assembly there with the Gospel outreach needed. Sad to say, from beginning to end, there was a complete lack of interest displayed by those they sought to contact. Their endeavours were diligent - the unresponsiveness of the people was evident. Much prayer is needed here. In the Strutherhill assembly at LARKHALL. Peter Brandon enjoyed a good time. This was followed by gospel meetings in EAST KILBRIDE where a number of people were wonderfully saved - the Word was preached with power. A feature of many assemblies in Scotland is the holding of testimony meetings at the end of the year - often on the last Lord’s Day. Usually, brethren tell how they were led to the Lord, and also how He had blessed them. At one of these meetings, a man was eventually led to the Lord by his work-mate. He then brought his wife and three children to the meeting - none of these were Christians. At many Gospel Halls, special Christmas gospel meetings were held. Despite truly arctic conditions, many of these gatherings were well attended, very often by people who do not usually come into the halls. There was a welcome break in the severe weather for a few days at New Year time. This enabled arrangements for New Year Conferences to go ahead. These were well attended. At Harley Street. GLASGOW, a happy feature at the Conference was the number of young people who came. This gives encouragement for the future well-being of the assembly. The ministry was helpful and there was a sense of the Lord’s blessing. A further matter for praise is that in these parts there are a number of young men who can ably handle the Word of God, and are giving themselves to this essential occupation May the Lord increase their number everywhere.

North West England

A notice of thankfulness for 1981 comes from the LANCASHIRE GOSPEL TENT as they look forward in the will of the Lord to plans for June and August this year. The campaign held with Stan Ford at OLDHAM was a great encouragement and blessing. The tent was pitched at Werneth Park - amazing to all that the Metropolitan Borough agreed to this arrangement. The Lord obviously wanted it there. Fringe disturbances fr>m the Moss Side riots were felt even in Oldham There were some anxious moments, but the Lord overruled. On one occasion a very hostile crowd gathered round the tent with the avowed intention of burning it to the ground. The “Arm of the law” was present in strength - a welcome presence! Yet amidst it all it was evident that the Lord was at work and souls were saved. This gives confidence for the future. Prayer is sought for this year’s evangelists - Robert Revie. Alistair Young and John Clunas and for all the many preparations for the tent campaigns. Although the weather was poor with fog for most of the time on New Year’s day, the greater MANCHESTER Conference was quite well attended. In the morning session, a Bible Reading on the Lord’s second coming was led by A. Wiseman and D. Hinton. During the afternoon and evening sessions, searching ministry was given. Notes of encouragement from two assemblies: at SWINTON, two ladies and a young man have been baptized. At CHEETHAM, two boys, children of Christian parents, also have been baptized to the cheer of the believers We can pray that these will go on with the Lord.

London Area

We have some interesting items of news from the report of the work at CARRINGTON HOUSE, and also Evelyn Hall, DEPTFORD, as another year’s work ended. The work among men at Carrington House has been in progress for 68 years, and many have found the Saviour through this testimony The weekly gospel meetings have been fairly well attended during the year, but quite a number of the men who have been known there over the years seem to have been missing. Some of these have moved to single-person flats in the Deptford area. The distribution of tracts around the house each month continues, and this preserves the contact with many of the men who do not attend the meetings. The Lord has very wonderfully supplied in relation to the the provision of men’s clothing. The meetings for men at Evelyn Hall on Tuesdays have given encouragement. There has been an increase in numbers attending, and one striking feature has been the number of men who are not resident at Carrington House - often complete strangers. Some leave as soon as the meeting is finished, but there are those that stay behind and who are glad of gifts of clothing. God does bless and save some of these lonely people. Recently, after one Tuesday meeting, a man was there whose face was vaguely familiar to us. He was nicely dressed, and had his Bible with him. He related that he had lived at Carrington House until two years ago when he moved into a flat in the Camberwell area. He said that he used to attend the meetings in the House, and at one of these he had trusted Jesus as Saviour. He had come back especially to tell of his experience. Praise God for His goodness! May this good work continue!

News from SOUTH EAST LONDON Evangelistic Mobile Unit. Some interesting contacts were made at WOOLWICH - one young man was interested - two more received literature. At PLUMSTEAD, where five local brethren joined the party, it was encouraging to be able to visit with tracts the area near to Richmond Hall. Four West Indians, two of whom had visited Richmond Hall, were spoken to. They said that they were bored with life, and that it had nothing for them They were told that Christ could provide a new dimension in their experience. At GROVE PARK a man from the public house crossed the road to speak to the workers. He knew the message but confessed that he was weak-willed. At BROMLEY SOUTH there were a number of people who stopped and listened. Some appeared genuinely concerned. Here the police objected to the positioning of the loudspeakers but allowed the messages to proceed after altering their place on the Unit roof. At SHOREHAM the village was traded and a number of people contacted. One man who had lived in the village since childhood was very interested He said that he had started to attend the Parish Church. These are just a few instances of the way in which the work of the Unit continues. More workers are urgently needed - let us remember the work in prayer.

South and West Country

News is scarce from this area as with some others because of restrictions that the severe weather put on activities. But we have some interesting items. From the Gospel Hall at AVONMOUTH comes a note of encouragement. The children’s “Wednesday Club” Christmas Special saw 90 parents and children gathering, and at the Sunday evening Family Night and Carol Service the attendance was 45. This came as a climax to a year of work among the children. Good numbers came to Sunday School, and the children’s meetings saw an average attendance of 45-50. This interest gave encouragementmay the Lord continue to bless this work. From Philip Lambert comes news of blessing in various activities. At WESTON-SUPER-MARE, a Mission was especially encouraging. Young people trusted the Lord, and a later letter says that they are going on well with the Lord. Pray that Satan will not steal their keenness away. A followup mission in a SWINDON assembly, saw about 120 children attending each night, and a number made professions of faith. In one family, all became Christians - they need our prayers. A house party was held for about 30 young people, many of whom had become Christians during the summer work. It was encouraging to see the growth in their spiritual lives. Their potential witness for Christ is great, and we can pray that it will develop. A special youth meeting was held at TROWBRIDGE - about 200 came and 30 asked for booklets explaining how to become a Christian. Over 40 of those in were “punk rockers”, and they listened well to the message. At the evening Gospel Service which followed, two spiritualists came in thinking that it was a Spiritualist Church. They were concerned as they heard the message. Was this a chance visit? Pray that Satan’s power will be broken in their lives.

Good news of work in the schools comes from Stephen Gillham in DORSET. It is good to hear again that this avenue of service is wide open in our land. The darkness among our youth, both morally and spiritually, is tremendous. We can praise God for those who are grasping the opportunities. During December 1981, 38 First. Infant. Junior and Middle Schools were visited in the County. Our brother says, “every year new contacts are made with new schools - this year schools formerly closed to us were open for visits”. One Headmaster said, “That was just what the staff as well as the children needed”. A happy week was spent at WEYMOUTH visiting schools, and evening children’s meetings were better attended than last year - numbers reached about 60 one evening. Parents and elderly folk were also reached. At HORWICH BOLTON, eight days of activities proved busy and encouraging. Four mornings at an Anglican Grammar School gave opportunity to speak to about 1300 secondary children, and lessons that followed gave further openings to meet large numbers of youngsters. Here was a valuable experience and a useful work done. Children and adult meetings were well attended. One lady was restored to the Lord, and some youngsters made professions. At WIMBORNE, two weeks work among the children brought many difficulties. A group of 25 children came each night, and there were two good parents’ services. On the final night, a response came from one father who needs much prayer as he seeks the Lord. These children need much thought and prayer.

South Wales

From SWANSEA comes news of an open door of witness in nine Residential Homes, available for monthly services. Seven local assemblies in the area share the work. The visits commenced in October 1981, and will continue through to May of this year. Excellent reports are being received of the appreciation and interest shown by these elderly citizens, and many opportunities have been given for personal talks on spiritual matters. Let us pray for these folks, many of whom are on the brink of eternity. A note of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord comes from the committee of the South West Wales Evangelistic Mobile Unit. The generosity of the Lord’s people has been wonderful, and a new vehicle has been purchased with great gratitude to the Lord. So the work of witness can continue, and the unit is already being used. Many excellent personal contacts are being made through the weekly open air testimonies in the SWANSEA City Centre.

Devon and Cornwall

From Denis Pierce comes items of news for the end of 1981. A visit to GLOUCESTER (Russell Street) for a children’s mission saw attendances which encouraged the local believers. Two confessed faith in Christ. At UMBERLEIGH, a Holiday Bible Club was attended by 30-40 each morning for two and a half hours. Good fellowship was enjoyed with a band of willing helpers, and a ten year old girl accepted Christ. At Grosvenor Street Chapel. BARNSTAPLE, the Christmas Family Service brought in a crowd of parents and others, and the place was filled. Some of these are regular attenders at the monthly Family Services, and there is much prayer that the Lord will save some of them. Just about 12 months ago there was joy as a couple saved through the outreach work were received into fellowship. Weather conditions have been severe, but all meetings have been continued at Grosvenor Street - praise the Lord for this. As the Christmas Family Service ended, the electricity was cut off and stayed off for most of the day. So the testimony continues in Barnstaple, the home of one of the most gracious of the Lord’s servants. Robert Chapman.

News from Tony Blackburn of a crusade in COLEFORD in Devon. This is just a small village. Here the Lord worked, and with the help of the local believers young people were brought from miles away. Each night the Gospel Hall was packed. On the Family Night there were so many children and adults that chairs were put in the aisles - full to overflowing. At least eight trusted the Lord during the mission, and there could be others Young people have been contacted who go to no Sunday School and they are being followed up. This was a happy occasion of service for the Lord.

Foreign News Item

ETHIOPIA. Some up-to-date news from John Flynn on affairs in ETHIOPIA, now ruled by the Provisional Revolutionary Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia. Three days before John arrived on a two week visit, the seventh anniversary of this government had been celebrated. It must be acknowledged that Marxism is established in the “Horn of Africa”. What of believers there? The observations of our brother were limited by what he saw in the capital and heard about the country parts. He says that he was encouraged by the evident spiritual growth and general seeking after the things of God, but he was challenged by the great need for help and relief in the areas which had been affected by drought. There are Christian agencies seeking to help with the famine relief programme, and their activities aim to alleviate physical needs with a view to bringing spiritual blessing. Here in his own words are some observations concerning the testimony. “I observed that the evangelical witness is under the guidance and leadership of native believers, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, having been trained no doubt by some of the expatriate missionaries who are no longer with them. This group of Spirit-filled and dedicated men need our continual prayer support as they seek to give the Gospel to their own nation.” The general situation is paradoxical. There are restrictions on work in some parts, yet signs that the Lord is working. Other provinces are more open to Christian activity, and the work of the Gospel goes forward with blessing. In the South, in the Kambatta and Wollana areas, blessing is reported from indigenous churches. In the West where the “Mekena Yesus” Church works, persecution is reported. Addis Ababa the capital is seeing a tremendous revival of interest in spiritual things. Some churches are packed, and some have actually duplicated services to cope with demand for Bible teaching. How good it is to see Ethiopia stretching out her hands to God. The brethren in the assembly at Addis Ababa have invited our brother and his wife to go out for a year to help with building a new and larger Gospel Hall - the work demands this. Let us pray for them and the needs in this sad and darkened part of the world.


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